The weekend of Sept. 6-8 was exciting and special for Beverly Graham, her son Duey and his daughters and their families from Maine. They attended the unveiling of the 11-foot bronze statue of Otto Graham, an NFL Hall of Famer who won seven championships as quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. Graham played in 10 championship games in his 10-year career with the team.
Otto’s wife, Beverly, now 95, stood by the statue Saturday, Sept. 7 with another Browns great, fellow Hall of Famer Jim Brown, as the cover was lifted off the statue outside FirstEnergy Stadium where the Browns play their home games. In the crowd cheering the unveiling were Duey of Boothbay Harbor, his daughters, Lauren Graham of Southport and Lindy Graham of Yarmouth, their respective husbands, Bar Clarke and Marc Anton, and Beverly’s great-grandchildren, Isabel Harkins, Finn Harkins, Graham Anton and Alex Anton.
The Graham contingent arrived in Cleveland on Friday, Sept. 6 and were provided with a tour of the Browns’ training facility in Berea, just outside Cleveland. They were also given a private tour of the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio where they viewed the various archived items of Otto, Jim Thorpe’s Carlisle Indians school sweater, Pat Tilman’s Army Ranger uniform, and Tom Brady’s draft card, among many other items.
Before the unveiling ceremony, the Graham group attended a brunch put on by the Browns. Following the ceremony, everyone enjoyed the kids events at the stadium’s Dawg Pound amusement area.
“Finn and former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar really hit it off,” said Duey. Kosar and Finn did some interviewing together for television, then when the group attended a team alumni dinner Saturday evening, Kosar mentioned Finn in his alumni speech.
Duey also said everyone got to meet Jim Brown, considered one of the greatest NFL running backs of all time, and many other Browns alumni.
On Sunday, the group watched the Browns take on the Tennessee Titans, which was probably the low light of the trip as the Browns lost, 43-13. Duey said, after the game, his mom was chatting with Geraldo Rivera and her grandson, Ryan, while awaiting her ride back to the hotel. She said, “I’ve never seen so many penalties in my life.” At that moment, the TV commentator said, “Today was the most penalties the Browns have had in one game since their first game loss in 1951.”
“Ryan turned back to his grandmother who attended every game Otto played and quipped, ‘Well Grandma, I guess you have,’” said Duey. The 1951 Browns did not lose again that season.
The group flew home to Maine early Monday morning following a Sunday night dinner at a restaurant with an arcade and a bowling alley.